By: Josh Wasserman
The Wildcats’ second two-game win streak of the year had them riding high, heading into a Big Ten series against the Penn State Nittany Lions this past weekend. But getting swept by the Nittany Lions left them with acrid tastes in their mouth, so they went into town to let their frustrations out against Chicago State, beating the Cougars 12-10.
Northwestern rode a 12-run, 16-hit effort to what should have been an easy win, but was jeopardized by a bullpen collapse in the final three innings.
Joe Hoscheit got the action started for the Cats in the first inning when he drove an extra-base hit into deep center field that scored Jake Schieber. Hoscheit ended up being thrown out, however, attempting to stretch the double into a triple.
Three innings later, Jack Claeys, who hit a grand slam earlier in the season against Cougars, converted on another bases-loaded opportunity, driving a single to the outfield to tack on two more runs. A Matt Hopfner RBI-triple in the fifth, a run-scoring wild pitch, and a few timely hits with runners in scoring position saw Northwestern ahead of Chicago State 9-0 after six innings. What should have been a relaxing win for head coach Spencer Allen then became one conducive to cardiac arrest in the seventh.
Allen implemented the same pitching strategy as last week’s midweek outing by throwing out a bevvy of pitchers for no more than one inning. For the first two-thirds of the game, it looked to be going as swimmingly as the game last week, a 5-1 victory for the Cats over the Bradley Braves.
Then in the seventh with Danny Katz on the mound for the Wildcats, the Cougars scratched out four runs to cut the deficit to five. Northwestern added on a three insurance runs in the next half-inning to bring their lead to eight, but Chicago State came roaring back in the eight and ninth innings.
Tommy Bordignon conceded one run in the eighth, and the Cougars struck for five in the bottom of the ninth against righty Mack Rosman courtesy of a hit-by-pitch, a sacrifice fly, and a deep triple to right field. But Jake Stolley came in to relive Rosman, and consequently Allen, after allowing just one more run to cross the plate before retiring Chicago State.
Northwestern’s 12 runs are the most they have put across in a game since a 14-5 win over Pacific in late February. With the win, Northwestern moves to 10-27 on the year and takes on Minnesota in a three-game series this weekend. WNUR Sports will have the call of all three games, which can be found live over 89.3 FM Evanston-Chicago or online at wnursports.com